Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has expressed concerns over new federal electricity regulations and stated that her government is prepared to enact the Sovereignty Act to push back against Ottawa’s planned emissions reductions. Smith wants to defend Alberta’s constitutional jurisdiction to develop its oil and gas industry and electricity system at its own pace. She is particularly opposed to Ottawa’s targets requiring the oil and gas sector to cut emissions by 42% below 2019 levels and plans to make the electricity grid net-zero by 2035. Smith said that if the federal government implements emissions caps that are unconstitutional, she will invoke the Sovereignty Act. However, federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault denies claims that all gas generation will be banned by 2035 and stated that the regulations were designed to achieve decarbonization while maintaining affordability and reliability. The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) has raised concerns that the clean electricity regulations pose a disproportionate risk and cost to Alberta compared to other provinces. AESO predicts that the regulations will create supply adequacy and reliability challenges for Alberta’s power system and increase the risk of blackouts. The details of AESO’s modelling and assumptions have not been provided, leading to calls for transparency.
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